In a show of unity and determination, food delivery drivers from companies like Deliveroo, Just Eat, and Uber Eats organized a strike in Oxford, demanding better wages and improved protections for riders. The protest, which took place outside the Carfax Tower in Oxford city center, brought together riders who expressed concerns about dwindling pay and challenging working conditions.
The drivers contend that their income has decreased since the pandemic’s end while their expenses have risen, making it increasingly difficult to make ends meet. Gustavo, a Deliveroo driver, stated, “We want to change the fees. Fees used to be good four years ago but instead of raising them, delivery companies are putting the fees down. Maybe it is for the number of people that are on the road, but that should not be happening. I think we should get paid a reasonable price for the deliveries, at least the same that used to be before.”
Nelson Martins, a full-time rider, highlighted how Deliveroo had recently reduced its minimum fare, stating, “We used to get a minimum £4.15 per order, but after Covid, it was £3.15, and £3 from Uber Eats.”
These drivers not only face dwindling earnings but also have to cover various expenses like fuel, uniforms, and rucksacks, which further reduce their take-home pay.
Joe Durbridge from the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) emphasized the lack of employment rights for riders and the chronic underpayment issue they face. He called for a comprehensive regulatory solution to address the challenges riders encounter.
In response to the strike and demands, a spokesperson for Just Eat stated that the company offers self-employed couriers “a highly competitive base rate” and provides “regular incentives to help them maximize their earnings.” Deliveroo, on the other hand, maintained that all their riders are “guaranteed to earn more than the National Living Wage plus costs” and often earn “significantly more than this.”
The strike highlights the ongoing challenges faced by gig workers in the food delivery industry, and the need for increased protections and fair compensation in the sector.